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Facebook joins with Nokia, Samsung and others to bring internet to developing countries

Facebook has partnered with Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm, and Samsung to launch with the goal of making internet access available to five billion people across the world’s developing countries.

Announcing the initiative, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg stated that just over one third of the world’s population, 2.7 billion people, have access to the internet and adoption is growing by less than nine per cent each year.

In launching, influenced by Open Compute Project, the group will push industry and governments to speed this adoption rate up by focusing on three key challenges in developing countries: making access affordable, using data more efficiently and helping businesses drive access, The Drum reports.

Potential projects include collaborations to develop lower-cost, higher-quality smartphones and partnerships to more broadly deploy internet access in underserved communities. Zuckerberg said mobile operators will play a central role in this effort by driving beneficial initiatives.

The group will also invest in tools that reduce the amount of data required to use most apps and internet experiences, with plans to implement data compression tools, enhance network capabilities to more efficiently handle data, build systems to cache data efficiently and create frameworks for apps to reduce data usage.

Together they plan to help businesses drive access by supporting the development of sustainable new business models and work with operating system providers and other partners to enable more languages on mobile devices.

Zuckerberg called this a rough plan, saying the partners expect the details to evolve: “It may be possible to achieve more than we lay out here, but it may also be more challenging than we predict. The specific technical work will evolve as people contribute better ideas, and we welcome all feedback on how to improve this.

“Connecting the world is one of the greatest challenges of our generation. This is just one small step toward achieving that goal. I’m excited to work together to make this a reality,” he added.